March 21, 2017

Oddities- Out of Place Artifacts.

Have you ever stopped for only one moment and considered  that the world isn’t quite what we think it is? 
Why do I say it? Well, I am fascinated by odd occurrences,  by the so called paranormal- ghosts, haunted places,strange apparitions -  Loch Ness, or the Mothman or even the  controversial UFOs.  They are fascinating. Unlike many of these, that many say are just the figment of imagination of people, there are also tangible, enigmatic artifacts all over the world that in form and construction look pretty modern, though they don’t  fit the geologic or historical timeline. They are ancient, anachronistic artifacts. Hence the name –"ancient anomalies”, or Ooparts. They can be touched, examined but nothing in our present-day knowledge can explain their existence. Can they offer a different view of our world? Could there be more to the history of life on our planet than we currently know about? Welcome to the world of Ooparts, or Out of Place Artifacts.
Here are just a few examples:

Helicopter Hieroglyphs.   The 3,000-year-old hieroglyphs found in Seti I's temple in Abydos, Egypt, depict nothing less than a helicopter, plane and futuristic aircraft among the usual insects, symbols and snakes. One popular myth is that the "advanced race" who bought details of futuristic technology to the Egyptians, were visitors from a far-flung highly advanced planet, to share their knowledge with the primitive communities on Earth.
The ancient aliens conspiracy theory claims the extraterrestrials were the ones behind the development of the pyramids, Stonehenge and other world famous monuments.

Ancient nanotechnology. In 1991-1993, gold prospectors on the Narada river on the eastern side of the Ural mountains in Russia found unusual, mostly spiral-shaped objects, the smallest measuring about 1/10,000th of an inch! The objects are composed of copper and the rare metals tungsten and molybdenum. Tests showed the objects to be between 20,000 and 318,000 years old.
Aiud Aluminum Artifact.  Romania has its share of Oooparts, too. In 1974 , workers digging a trench along the Mures River discovered a couple of mastodon bones and an enigmatic object, over which scientists have puzzled ever since.
This 5-pound, 8-inch long object of solid, nearly pure aluminum, clearly
manufactured and not a natural formation was sent for analysis and was found to be composed of 89 percent aluminum with traces of copper, zinc, lead, cadmium, nickel, and other elements. Aluminum in this form is not found free in nature, but must be manufactured and wasn't produced in quantity until the 1800s.
If it is the same age as the mastodon bones, that would make it at lease 11,000 years old, when the last of that species went extinct. An analysis of the oxidized layer coating the artifact dated it to 300 to 400 years old -- still well before the known time when aluminum manufacturing process was invented.
So who made this object? And what was it used for? There are those who are quick, of course, to suggest it is of extraterrestrial origin... but the facts are at present unknown.
Oddly (or maybe not), the mysterious object has been secreted away somewhere and is not available for public viewing or further analysis.

There are dozens of examples of such Ooparts- enough to give the traditional scientific disciplines a shake-up, I would think.

March 19, 2017

Guest Promo Ginger Monette about Falling in Love: Plan it, Plot it, Show it—in Four Phases

I am thrilled and let me explain the reason. Ginger Monette. a  fellow author and member of MFRW group, too, is my guest today. She will not only present her latest release, but also is so kind to have a post that I’m sure will capture your attention and interest. Especially if your stories have a dash of romance.
 Falling in Love: Plan it, Plot it, Show it—in Four Phases
As romance novelists, it's our job to weave stories that gives readers a front row seat to watch the unfolding of a beautiful love story.

So what's the best way to show a couple moving from Hello my name is(or even I despise you) to You're my soulmate and I want to spend the rest of my life with you?

Having been disappointed by numerous novels where the couple claimed to suddenly be in lovewithout actually falling in love, I went on a quest to investigate this mysterious process of falling head over heels. What I discovered changed my writing.

I dissected some fifty romance novels and made notes. All the couples had hefty doses of attraction, but the most satisfying stories went beyond attraction to something deeper. They showed the characters passing through four phases that moved them step by step from “meh(or downright hatred) to wowie-zowie he's the most wonderful person in the world.  And each phase seemed to be characterized by distinct thought patterns—particularly if at first Prince Charming seemed to be more of a frog than a prince. Here are the stages I observed:

Acknowledgement of him:
-Acknowledges some good quality about him (talented, kind, generous, etc)
-Finds him attractive
-Hyper aware of him, or hyper critical of his shortcomings (which often signals preoccupation or a subconscious denial of admiration)
-Acknowledges an attraction, but blows it off

Appreciation of his good qualities:
-Defends his character while not necessarily liking him
-Is genuinely thankful for a good quality
-Beginning to warm towards him
-Not so judgmental towards him
-More willing to consider his opinion on a matter

-Takes his advice
-Imitates quality or action of his
-Admits her initial criticism or objections were exaggerated or biased
-Curiosity grows—willing to spend more time in his company
-Acknowledges similar values or mutual interests
-Finds she is thinking (fondly) of him more and more

-Openly acknowledges her love/warm feelings for him
-Desires to be in his company
-Thinks he is wonderful
-Thinks he is perfect match
-Misses him painfully when he is gone
-Thinks about him constantly

So how did this awareness of stages change my writing? In my novel Darcy's Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes, I kept these stages and behaviours in mind as I crafted scenes.They became an outline of sorts that I wove with compelling action, mystery, suspense, and historical detail. When my characters (Jane Austen's iconic Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet) are reunited at a WWI field hospital, Elizabeth is none too happy to encounter Darcy. And although she disdains him, I had her acknowledge that he is handsome and there is something between them. This cracks the door to romance and gets readers rooting for the couple.

Then, I moved her into the appreciation stage by having her surprise herself by praising and defending Darcy to a colleague. After she directly benefits from his wise leadership, she comes to appreciate him, even though she still doesn't like him. Readers can feel her slowly warming towards him and eagerly turn pages to find out how the couple will sort out the baggage between them.

As truths of Darcy's past are dramatically revealed and she comes to understand him better, I have her admit that her initial criticisms were misplaced. Now, with a softened heart, she's able to look at him more objectively. Then I set up an ah-ha moment where she realizes they both share a similar deep-seated insecurity which turns her reservations about him into empathy. Now that her appreciation has turned to admiration, her feelings are almost there! And readers are waiting with bated breath to find out what it will take for him to fully win her heart.

I gave him some scenes that show off his admirable qualities, so not only does she find herself attracted to him, she admires his leadership, work ethic, and drive. Then I purposely played up the things they have in common and showed her enjoying his company. In short, I showed them building a relationship. Finally, after they share a heroic act and laugh over a tent whipping in the wind, she realizes that in fact she adores him. 

Intentionally crafting scenes that follow this four-stage progression of romance enables readers to sense her falling in love, so it's no surprise when she finally declares it. I think a lot of romance authors make the mistake of never showing the characters moving beyond physical attraction and chemistry. It's not easy! But to write a fulfilling romance, the characters need to interact on a deep level and share common interests. Readers should see the couple building a relationship and hear their internal dialog as their thoughts and feelings evolve.

Using this four step model, I think Darcy's Hope has succeeded in providing readers a deep sense of satisfaction as they watch the heroine's tiny bud of acknowledgement open into appreciation, then expand with admiration, and finally blossom into full adoration.

What challenges do you face showing a couple falling in love?


The Darcy’s Hope Saga

Vol 1:Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes
Vol 2:Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey

           Downton Abbey Meets Pride & Prejudice!

Escape to the era of Downton Abbey and experience all the drama of World War 1 alongside Jane Austen's iconic Elizabeth Bennet & Fitzwilliam Darcy. You'll watchtheir tender love unfold as they learn to work together and reconcile their differences at a field hospitalonly miles from the Front. When injury and espionage separate the couple, Darcy is crushed. But Donwell Abbey holds a secret that just might change everything.

“…a stellar example of fine Austenesque literature. …an exceptionally moving story complete with a compelling plot, danger, mystery, action, introspection, vivid detail, and an emotionally wrought romance. ~Austenesque Reviews

 Buy links:Amazon 
Author's bio

The teacher always learns the most. And in homeschooling her children, Ginger
Monette learned all the history she missed in school. Now she's hooked—on writing and World War I.

When not writing, Ginger enjoys dancing on the treadmill, watching period dramas, public speaking, and reading—a full-length novel every Sunday afternoon.

In 2015, her WW1 flash fiction piece, Flanders Field of Grey, won Charlotte Mecklenburg Library's Picture This” grand prize.

Ginger lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she happily resides with her husband, three teenagers, and two loyal dogs.